For decades, Patriots fans enjoyed life at the top. Their team was perpetually relevant in every category on and off the field, a championship always within reach. Times have changed a bit in New England the last few years with the departure of the GOAT, an evolving roster and a very competitive AFC landscape.
Still, the fans in Foxboro are fiery, loyal, competitive, dedicated and sometimes delusional. Considering their journey from darkness to dynasty, and all the scandal and scrutiny the team faced, it makes sense that the fans would remain committed to their team through thick and thin. And Bill Belichick is more than happy to remind you it wasn’t all too thin.
Yet it’s that commitment, that loyalty, that title-fueled entitlement that lands them atop, or almost near the top of a new list. According to USA Today, the New England Patriots have the third-worst fan base… not just in the NFL, but in all professional sports.
Locally, this will be seen as the latest installment of “They Hate Us Cuz They Ain’t Us”, one of the many mantras that evolved during the DeflateGate/“Defend The Wall” days of the mid-2010s. From the national perspective it’s similar, as though Patriots fans aren’t the most violent or toxic or fair-weather. Rather it’s a spoils that come with the riches ideal.
Writes ranking author Mike Freeman, “Putting them here is more about my Constitutional duty as an American to acknowledge just how much other fans absolutely despise Patriots fans.” More tribute than insult if you ask me.
Yet one just can’t help but wonder…only third worst? ONLY THIRD? What happened to the Pats finishing first in everything? You know, the good old days of always being the best, even if it was being the worst. First it’s finishing second in the AFC East after owning the division for 20 years. Now a bronze medal finish in the worst fanbase rankings?
Pats fans will need to double down on their pride and glory this season in order to help re-establish the pecking order they so obnoxiously dominated this century. Of course, the team getting its act together and delivering on field, helping that process take place might help, too. Hopefully this ranking doesn’t slip further, sending Pats fans into the dreaded “Glory Days” period of their existence.
For the record, Dallas Cowboys fans finish 2 overall, making them the worst fan base in the NFL. And Miami Heat fans finish first overall in the worst fan base rankings. Maybe the Celtics can do America a favor and prevent the worst fans in sports from seeing any more glory this spring. It’s the least New England could do for you.